L.A. Cool Cities

Cool Cities in L.A.

Los Angeles has a few cool cities and small towns. From the beach communities of Malibu, Santa Monica and Long Beach to the museums of Pasadena and the world-renowned Hollywood, L.A. has plenty to offer its visitors. Peruse several blocks of shops in Old Pasadena. Walk the sand on 'Movie Beach' in Malibu, where dozens of movies have been filmed. Place your hand in the hand print of your favorite actor outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Stay aboard the historic Queen Mary luxury liner and visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Board a ferry over to Catalina Island, California's only all-inclusive tropical island. From the glitz and glamor of Hollywood to unique beach communities, you'll find all of the cool towns in Los Angeles listed on this page.

Los Angeles Cool Cities

Gamble House

Pasadena is located off both the 110 and 210 freeways northeast of Los Angeles. Every new year Pasadena celebrates by hosting the Rose Parade. Cities from around the nation take part with extravegant floats that are colored with roses, flowers and other natural materials. Following the event, the Rose Bowl hosts a college football championship game. Pasadena is renowned for its museums including the Huntington Library and Norton Simon to name a few. Old Pasadena spans 22 city blocks and features hundreds of restaurants, cafés and boutique shops in an historic part of town. The Gamble House is an exquisite turn-of-the-century craftsman home that was built for a co-owner of Proctor and Gamble. The nearby Los Angeles Arboretum features impressive gardens and was the set for the opening scenes of 80's television series, Fantasy Island. Improve your game at one of several golf courses in the region.

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Getty Villa, Malibu

Malibu is located off Highway 1 just north of Santa Monica. Situated at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains and along the shore of the Pacific Ocean, Malibu offers both mountain and ocean activities as well as terrific museums and restaurants. Being a prime location in Los Angeles, many famous people and celebrities call Malibu home. Billionaire's Beach is a stretch of oceanfront homes where some of them live. The Malibu Pier is where most 60's surf movies were filmed like Gidget and Beach Party. You'll see the waves they rode just north of the pier at Surfrider Beach. Also at Surfrider Beach is the Adamson House, which was one of Malibu's original structures and features Moroccan design with original Malibu tiles throughout. The Getty Villa is an art museum housed in a replica of a Romanesque Italian Villa. Farther up the coast is Leo Carrillo State Beach where you'll find a sea cave and 'Movie Beach' where many movies have been filmed. Leo Carrillo is also one of the best options for beach camping in Los Angeles. The Santa Monica Mountains provide terrific hiking trails to lakes, waterfalls and abandoned movie sets. Several State Parks are situated within the Santa Monica Mountains which offer camping, picnicking and hiking opportunities. Head up into the hills where several local wineries offer wine tasting.

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Santa Monica is located where Interstate 10 meets the ocean. The Santa Monica region has a multitude of attractions and is situated approximately 30-minutes from Hollywood. Attractions include Pacific Park (a boardwalk park with roller coasters and amusement park rides), an arcade, aquarium, souvenir shops and restaurants. The nearby Santa Monica Place offers shopping from some of the major retailers like Macy's and Robinson's May. Continuing 3 blocks north from Santa Monica Place along 3rd Street is the 3rd Street Promenade. This promenade offers an outdoor shopping and entertainment venue along 3 blocks of pedestrian-only streets. Head north on 'The Strand' (paved beach bike path) to Will Rogers State Beach where the Baywatch television show was filmed. A short trip south will land you at Venice Beach where you will find bohemian entertainment and shopping along 'The Strand'. Take a romantic sunset walk through the canals of Venice.

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Hollywood Sign

Hollywood is located off Highway 101 near Santa Monica Boulevard. What would be a trip to California without seeing Hollywood. This is the heart of the movie industry and a center of tourism and entertainment. Here you'll find the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Bowl, Sunset Strip, Universal Studios Hollywood, theaters, museums and more. The intersection of Hollywood and Highland is the hub of activity with the Pantages Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, Hollywood and Highland Center, Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, Guinness World of Records Exhibition, Hollywood Walk of Fame and much, much more. There's so much to see in the Hollywood region that we've dedicated a page entirely to Hollywood.

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Queen Mary Long Beach

Long Beach is located along the southernmost coastline of L.A. County. Access Long Beach by heading south on either the 710 or 605 freeways from the 405 freeway. Long Beach tourist attractions include the Long Beach Aquarium, Queen Mary Hotel, Shoreline Village, The Pike, Belmont Shore and Naples Island. Long Beach offers world-class dining, huge sandy beaches, museums, boating, shopping and so much more. The Long Beach Arena hosts top-notch entertainers throughout the year. Every year in April, the streets of downtown Long Beach are taken over by the Long Beach Grand Prix IndyCar racing event. There's so much to see and do that we've dedicated an entire page to Long Beach.

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San Pedro is located at the south end of the 110 Freeway. San Pedro is a port city next to L.A. Harbor. With a rich history in the fishing industry, San Pedro today is home to cruise ship terminals and several interesting attractions. Walk the deck of the U.S.S. Battleship Iowa and get a close up view of her 16-inch guns and modern weaponry. Shop for souvenirs and enjoy waterfront dining at Port's O' Call. Visit Cabrillo Beach and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, which houses local fish and invertebrate. See the Korean Friendship Bell that has been featured in many movies including The Usual Suspects. Tour the Victorian home of the Pt. Fermin Lighthouse that was once the guiding light for ships entering the L.A. Harbor. Tour WWII defense batteries, artillery guns, pill boxes and a Nike Missile site at Fort MacArthur.

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Catalina photo courtesy of Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce

Avalon is located on Catalina Island, 22 miles off the coast of L.A. and Orange Counties. The small town of Avalon is accessible by boat from harbors in Marina Del Rey, San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point or by helicopter from Long Beach. This is a small town in winter but bristling with tourists in summer who come to enjoy the bars, restaurants and plethora of outdoor activities Catalina Island has to offer. The island was once owned by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley who used to bring his Chicago Cubs baseball team here for spring training on a field that still exists today. Wrigley also used local clay to create the colorful and easily recognizable Catalina Tile, which were used as decorative art in many local homes and businesses in the early 1930's. He was buried at the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden on the island. Today, Avalon is the hub of Catalina Island where tourists arrive and depart and from where most of the island's tours and activities originate. Tours available from Avalon include glass bottom boats, flying fish tours, fishing charters, submarine tours, scuba diving tours and much more. Popular Avalon activities include sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, zip-lining, camping, hiking, sightseeing, boating, shopping, relaxing, partying and more. The landmark rotunda at the north end of Avalon is the Catalina Casino, which contains a movie theater, ballroom and museum and features beautiful art deco paintings & architecture. Interesting Catalina wildlife include buffalo that were brought to the island in the 1920's for a film shoot, the bright orange Garibaldi fish that is also California's State Fish and Catalina's famous flying fish. There is so much to see and do on Catalina Island that we've dedicated an entire page to the topic.

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Towns by Region

California by Region

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